My bf and I decided that all our good healthy Californian eating habits were void and absolutely pointless in New Orleans. Seriously, it’s a magnificent city that would perish if butter and a deep fryer outlawed. It’s a city made of high-cholesterol goodness and we ate everything… every two hours… as soon as we woke up… and had our first bowel movement… we were planning our next meal. It was the sexiest anniversary trip ever.

Now, this isn’t a food blog, but you can’t go to New Orleans without sampling everything. It’s a foodie city that is easily comparable with New York or San Francisco. Perhaps it doesn’t have the full range of different ethnic foods, but they definitely do seafood, Cajun, Creole, and American extremely well. After researching multiple foodie sites, like Yelp and Zagat, for some pointers and taking notes while watching Samantha Brown, Anthony Bourdain, and Andrew Zimmern, a really tasty looking meal at Cochon on After Hours, and I was ready!

Three tasty meals in New Orleans:

1. Bacco: Fortunately for us, Bacco, an Italian/Cajun restaurant, was located at the W hotel-French Quarter, where we were staying. From July 1st to August 31, the HOTTEST time in New Orleans, many of the tastist restaurants in the city offer a “COOLinary” menu, a 3-course lunch for under $20 and/or dinner for under $30. Nice! Bacco, one of the participating restaurants, was mighty tasty! We started off with a beautifully seasoned calimari topped with feta cheese, next, we shared the chef’s lunch special (2-course pastachio-strawberry vinegarette salad and cheesey crab meat lasagna), and finished with Mr. Ralph’s Ice Cream Sandwich. Ice cream sandwich? I always lick plates when I get strawberry ice cream sandwiched between two hunks of chocolate gingerbread and drizzled with chocolate sauce and strawberry jam placed in front of me. Don’t you? Bacco: 310 Chartres Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130. (504) 522-2426.

2. Cochon: The French word for “pig”, Cochon’s specialty is… well… pig. And, boy, do they do pig well. It’s a place where vegetarians come to be converted to carnivores. Located in the Business District, it’s still within walking distance from the high-tourist areas of the French Quarter. The bf and I decided to do small dishes in order to try everything: (pictured starting from top right, clockwise) hot sausage with grits, pork ribs with watermelon pickles, people, cochon with cracklins, fried alligator, kitchen, and gumbo (center). Vegetables? HA. I laugh in the face of vegetables! It was definitely a meat heavy dinner, but if I had more space, I would’ve ordered the pork cheeks with corncake! Afterwards, I was too full of pork to do anything, but it was definitely worth it. Some of the dishes were a miss, like the hot sausage, but the cochon and the fried alligator was absolutely mouth watering. Cochon: 930 Tchoupitoulas St. New Orleans, LA. 504-588-2123. Reservations recommended.

3. K-Paul: Honestly, I was hesitant to come here just because the owner, Chef Paul Prudhomme, sells all those “Magic” seasoning bottles. You know, the kind where there’s seafood magic, meat magic, pizza and pasta magic, barbeque magic, etc, etc. But it turns out, Chef Paul is highly respected in New Orleans and everyone will agree that K-Paul is one of the best restaurants in the city. He knows his food. This was the meal we were waiting for. That meal that blew my panties off and I remembered why I ran all those miles on the treadmill. Our adorable and FABULOUS server, Eileen?, recommended our entire meal down to my coctail and that’s when I decided that I wanted her as my best friend complete with her Southern drawl. Starting from the top right: Fried green tomatoes with shrimp,  blacken beef tenders with debris, blackened Louisiana drum, and outside. Everything was so good that we ended up buying two bottles of crack magic seasoning. K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen: 416 Chartres St. New Orleans, LA 70130. (504) 524-7394. Reservations recommended.

Unfortunately, we were only there a weekend and, well, we were always about to explode. Otherwise, we would’ve eaten at all the other restaurants. The bf and I decided that New Orleans, with it’s wonderful food and music, had a fabulous charm and we were definitely going to be back.

Next time we’re going to hit:

Commander’s Palace, Brennan’s (breakfast), Jacques-imo’s, Emeril’s (seriously! it’s suppose to be great!), Mother’s… and SO MANY MORE!!! Why was I not born a cow with 4 stomachs?!?!?!

A few things to know about dining in New Orleans:

1. Brennan Family: You’ll notice that the Brennan name is everywhere in New Orleans and for good reason. The Brennan family (descendants of Owen Brennan) owns a LOT of restaurants in New Orleans, including Bacco, Commander’s Palace, and Mr. B’s Bistro and they’re all typically very good.

2. Healthy? HA: Honestly, drop the diet and just go all out. This is not a city that you can easily find lots of vegetarian options. I recently read an article in Clean Eating Magazine featuring Commander Palace’s healthier approach, but it’s no salad.

3. New Orleans foodie dictionary: Crawfish, etouffee, beignets, boudin, muffuletta, andouille, gumbo, jambalaya, po’ boy, remoulade, sazerac. There’s so many different types of classic Louisiana dishes that are just confusing for people like me! Learn a little before you go just so you know what to expect when you order a Sazerac.

Check out New Orleans Official Tourism Site for foodie information. Also, FrenchQuarter.com was useful with printable maps with all the restaurants in the neighborhood.

Up next: snacks and mid-day dining!

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